Friday, 18 July 2014

Photography season ~ My love of photography....

My old film camera and new digital camera, taken with my iPhone.

If you sell products online or have photos on your blog you will know how important it is to have professional looking photos but we can't all afford a professional photographer. 

To help, I have some exciting blog posts coming up offering hints and tips to take a great pic!  I have a couple of book reviews planned and a guest post from a photographer giving professional tips.  I am also having a guest slot on Frugally Peachy showing you how to make a light box and we are having a #CraftBlogClub Twitter chat on 29th July dedicated to photography. Exciting hey?!

coming up on this blog ~ book reviews.....
But to kick off this photography season I thought I would tell you about my love of photography....

My Mum first got me interested in photography, she took a course at college when I was young and when we went on family trips out she would take her camera.  When I went to art college I had the opportunity to take a course, this was back in the day of film and a dark room.  At this time, I possibly enjoyed the processing more than taking the photos, it was like magic how the image appeared!
My old camera that I learnt with. Although it takes film and I will never use it again, I can't throw it away!

My Digital SLR

I invested in a Digital SLR last year and fell in love with photography all over again.  I went on a photography course via Groupon, to refresh the memory of the basics.  It was in London and we took pictures and tried out different camera settings around the Southbank. I learnt to do this....

Motion blur whilst keeping the background in focus

Keeping the horse in focus while it's moving

The principle of shutter speed and aperture are the same but there are new features on a digital camera to learn.

With my passion reignited, I take my camera wherever possible and practice with different settings and lighting. Flowers and portraits are great for depth of field

Sometimes it is not convenient to carry a large DSLR or an unexpected photo opportunity presents itself when I'm not prepared.  Thankfully camera phones are great for taking snaps on the go and Instagram is my favourite app.

As I take a lot of pics I started my month in pics on the blog and I hope you have been enjoying these posts.

At first I found product photography frustrating, I couldn't get the lighting right and do my products justice. It can also seem a big job as I have to set up and pack up. (When I win the Lottery not only will I have a craft wing but I will also have a photo studio, I can dream!)  However, now I plan it as part of the creative process and allow time to play and get the image right, I am enjoying it far more now.

I am trying new things and learning new techniques all the time.  I have also read more of my camera's handbook.  I'm not great for instructions, they are boring right?!, when I bought the camera I read enough to get me started but once I went back to read the rest I found so many hints and tips that have helped me take a better picture.

What I use....
  • Camera ~ Canon EOS 600D
  • (Update) My conservatory used to be my photo studio but I struggled with the lighting. I now take photos in the bay window in our bedroom using a net curtain to diffuse the light.
  • (Update) Tripod and remote shutter. I was advised to get these to eliminate shake and have sharp images. It does help but if I can't use a tripod due to the angle of shot or I don't have the space, I don't go below a shutter speed of 1/50 as I know I can keep the camera steady at this speed.
  • Natural light or natural light bulbs.
  • Reflector ~ This reflects the light to avoid dark shadows. These are relatively inexpensive, I got mine for around £10. 
  • (Update) I used to use lining wallpaper for a background.  Now I use a mix of white mount board and a wooden pallet which I painted with white chalk paint. For my products I want a plain white background but not bright white, the wooden pallet adds texture and interest to my lifestyle shots.
  • I did use a light tent but I didn't get on with it, but they are supposed to be helpful for product potography.

Here are the top things I have learned about taking a good snap....
  • Read your camera manual. I wouldn't do it all at once as it would be information overload but I wouldn't leave it a year before you pick it up again, like me!
  • Never use a flash, it bleaches the colour. Instead increase ISO and use a slower shutter speed.
  • Practice on topics you enjoy, whether it's portraits or landscapes
  • Make time and plan for photography as part of the creative process
  • Get as much of the image right at shoot, don't rely on post production.  Too much editing will not represent the item as well.
I hope you will enjoy the photography posts coming up and I'd love to hear your photography hints, tips and experiences so please leave your comments....

Pssst.... I have a Pinterest board for photography hints, tips and tutorials which you can check out here and you can also follow me on Instagram.

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